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Boom will grow old

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October 01, 2017

Together with Japan, these countries make-up almost half of Australia’s merchandise exports. ‘‘It’s still a good news story for Australia, just not as good,’’ Deloitte Australia economist Chris Richardson said.

Just like the mining boom proved a huge benefit to Australia, the Asian dining boom that is now driving our agriculture exports may not last forever.

But it could well turn into a nursing boom as an ageing region worries more about the quality of their healthcare.

A new analysis by consultants Deloitte forecasts by the 2030s Asia will be home to more than 60 per cent of the world’s population aged over 65.

While Australia’s ageing population will weigh on the nation’s economic growth over the next decade, the challenge will be even greater for the likes of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand and New Zealand.

Together with Japan, these countries make-up almost half of Australia’s merchandise exports.

‘‘It’s still a good news story for Australia, just not as good,’’ Deloitte Australia economist Chris Richardson said.

‘‘Changing demographics will have a big impact on the backdrop for Australian businesses and what they are selling into.’’

He says while this ageing population will have money, spending is likely to be more domestically orientated, especially on health care and increasing costs from new technology.

‘‘They are going to get a hell of a lot of retirements and not necessarily heaps of new workers,’’ Mr Richardson said.

At the other end of the scale, the workforces of the Philippines, Indonesia and especially India are likely to expand.

Mr Richardson doesn’t believe Australian businesses and governments are quite ready for this change.

‘‘At some stage, they will require that wake-up call,’’ he said.

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